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Guest Blog: Connect With Your Customers & Watch Your Business Grow

This week we feature an article by Molly Moore about why phone calls and online chat can make the difference between customer-centric brands and everybody else. Despite our advances in technology today and the many ways in which we can now communicate, the phone call isn’t going anywhere. This might seem like a decidedly old-school […]

This week we feature an article by Molly Moore about why phone calls and online chat can make the difference between customer-centric brands and everybody else.

Despite our advances in technology today and the many ways in which we can now communicate, the phone call isn’t going anywhere. This might seem like a decidedly old-school customer service channel, but calls are as important, if not more so than ever and more consumers are calling businesses today than any other time in history.

In fact, nearly two-thirds (65%) of potential customers want to reach brands by phone. Phone calls are ripe with opportunities and the faster a caller connects with a friendly voice on the other end, the better. There’s a reason 74% of consumers are very likely to choose another business after having a poor phone experience. Consumers want to connect with your business. And we’re not only talking about phone calls; the same holds true for online chat. A whopping 73% of consumers report satisfaction with their live chat experiences—the highest level of all customer service channels—but just 14% of companies use this technology, and even fewer use it powered by real humans.

Given that 29% of calls lead to a purchase, and 77% of customers say they won’t make a purchase if a brand doesn’t offer live chat support, companies that don’t take these trends seriously risk missing out on lucrative potential revenue. But beyond the immediate opportunities, phone calls and online chat are what differentiate and insulate truly customer-centric brands in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Consumers Demand Immediate Connection

We live in an era of ubiquitous convenience and instant gratification. An overwhelming majority (75%) of consumers now expect businesses to offer support within five minutes of an inquiry—24 hours per day, seven days per week, 52 weeks per year.

To understand these heightened expectations, look no further than the device in your hand. Smartphones and other internet-enabled mobile devices have transformed our ability to access and act on information. When someone has a question, faces a technical issue, or needs any kind of help from a business, be it a contractor, lawyer, or doctor, they’ll do a quick search to find their website. Most of these visitors have an expectation that they can tap “call now” or “chat with us” and get an immediate response.

Many companies are well aware of this, of course. However, in the rush to create effective marketing and outrank their competitors through effective strategies such as paid advertising or paid search, too many businesses fail to ultimately provide a compelling customer experience. Dollars spent on brand exposure mean nothing when callers are greeted by an answering machine, run through an automated phone tree, placed on hold for inordinate periods of time, or connected to someone who doesn’t understand or isn’t able to address their concerns. Ditto for any website visitor confronted with time-consuming forms, obtuse chatbots, or outsourced chat agents who lack linguistic and cultural fluency, or more importantly, lack a general understanding of their business.

Think your business is an exception? Think again. Although 80% of companies believe they provide excellent customer service, a mere 8% of customers agree. Clearly, organizations are dropping the ball (and dropping calls and online visitors) when it comes to delivering on customer expectations.

How to Connect the Right Way

At Ruby, we’ve spent the last 16 years helping small businesses deliver unparalleled experiences to their customers and prospects. Our employees are able to provide a personalized level of service powered by an award-winning technology platform that helps us to deliver attention to detail that consistently differentiates us.  Here are a few things I’ve learned about how small businesses can grow by creating meaningful human connections:

  1. Build trust and nail the first impression. A phone call or chat is a critical moment to either establish or destroy trust with a customer. Few channels provide the same immediacy. Use every live connection as an opportunity to set the tone and communicate your value.  Establishing that trust can make a world of difference in having a potential customer schedule an appointment or take the next step with you.
  2. Make it personal. Connection and empathy is everything. While we prioritize consistency—every call and chat inquiry gets answered with the same Ruby tone – but it’s customized to their business, making every caller and online visitor feel heard and understood.
  3. Give your customers what they don’t even know they want. Listen carefully and you’ll seem like a mind reader. Sense hesitation in a caller’s voice? Offer to handle the hard work for them. Hear a sniffle? Send them a get-well care package. A small, personalized gesture can lay the foundation for a long-lasting relationship.
  4. Provide a superior experience at every touchpoint. Every interaction between a customer and your company is a chance to exceed expectations. From calls to live chat, from your website to your lobby, be sure to engage and delight your customers wherever they may find you. It is critical to set this as a cultural foundation for your company at large so your customers don’t have a different experience throughout their lifecycle with your business.
  5. Empower your team to do what they do best. You hired your customer service personnel because of their great personalities. You’ve trained them to do the right thing.  Now give them the freedom to make good decisions that will result in long-lasting customer relationships. At Ruby, every team member is empowered to make someone’s day through a thoughtful gift or kind note, so when someone feels moved to send a special something to a customer, they’re free to make it happen—no questions asked.

The secret to extraordinary interactions such as phone calls and chats—or any form of customer service, for that matter—is a lesson we all learn at a young age: treat others how you would want to be treated. With the right tools, support, and mission, it can become second nature. Best of all, personal connections are a virtuous cycle. Help your customers succeed, and they’ll do the same for you.

Molly Moore is the Chief Marketing Officer at Ruby Receptionists. Having spent nearly 20 years as a sales and marketing leader, Molly understands how to build exceptional customer experiences that win trust and build loyalty. Her focus at Ruby is on creating meaningful engagements with prospects and customers, demonstrating how Ruby’s services and technologies can help grow their businesses. 

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to

Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Want To Retain Your Customers? Make It Personal

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